Hamilton v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Filing 107

ORDER by Judge Claudia Wilken Granting 96 Administrative Motion to File Under Seal (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/8/2012)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 MARIKA HAMILTON, MICHAEL HICKMAN, JEFFREY and ELLEN YELLIN, and BRENDAN O'LEARY, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 No. C 09-4152 CW ORDER GRANTING ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL (Docket No. 96) Plaintiffs, v. WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., for itself and as a successor in interest to GOLDEN WEST BANK, WACHOVIA BANK, and WELLS FARGO FINANCIAL / NOWLINE BANK, Defendant. ________________________________/ On April 19, 2012, Plaintiffs moved, pursuant to this Court's 20 Civil Local Rule 79-5(c) and (d), to seal a portion of their 21 motion for final approval of the class settlement containing 22 reference to information designated as confidential by Defendant 23 Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo filed a timely declaration in support of 24 the motion to seal. 25 The information that Wells Fargo seeks to seal is data 26 describing the results of its proactive reinstatements of 27 customers' HELOC accounts over a particular period. 28 These numbers 1 were provided to help Plaintiffs' expert estimate the value of 2 additional reinstatements of HELOC accounts likely to result from 3 Wells Fargo’s further proactive reviews of suspended accounts, 4 promised as part of the parties’ settlement agreement. 5 Fargo submitted a declaration stating that the data is private, 6 nonpublic business information that could benefit competitor banks 7 at Wells Fargo's expense. 8 Wells Wells Fargo has demonstrated that the request to seal satisfies the compelling interest standard generally applicable to 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 9 documents contained in judicial records, except for those attached 11 to a non-dispositive motion. 12 Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 (9th Cir. 2002). 13 applying the compelling interest standard, relevant factors may 14 include the public interest’s in understanding the judicial 15 process and whether disclosure of the material would result in the 16 improper use of the information for scandalous or libelous 17 purposes or infringement upon trade secrets. 18 Creditors Ass'n., 605 F.3d 665, 679 n.6 (9th Cir. 2009). 19 Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. In Pintos v. Pacific Here, Plaintiffs' expert had access to the information that 20 Wells Fargo seeks to seal and was able to estimate the value of 21 potential future reinstatements. 22 value of the settlement are contained in the public record. 23 the public's interest in understanding the value of the settlement 24 is not undermined by sealing the underlying data. 25 time, disclosure would come at the expense of Wells Fargo's 26 competitive position because it would provide private business 27 data about the value of its reinstatements of HELOC accounts over The expert’s estimations of the 28 2 Thus, At the same 1 a given period. 2 public’s interest in the information. Therefore, Wells Fargo’s interest outweighs the 3 Plaintiffs’ motion to seal is granted. 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. Docket No. 96. 5 6 7 Dated: 5/8/2012 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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